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American Berry Company purchases CranGrow plant in Warrens WI

17 Nov

Just in case you missed the big announcement from last week….

2020 Wisconsin crop update

17 Nov

The 2020 cranberry crop turned out to be great in color and quality and not so great in volume. In 2019 WI delivered 4,485,000 bbls. That was down from 5,271,000 bbls in 2018. I think all growers thought preharvest that we had an average crop coming in, and in fact the CMC themselves estimated 5,500,000 and NASS estimated 5,600,000? Something like that. So, what did we deliver? The official numbers don’t get reported until after 12/31 and officially reported out until the first of February or so, but it looks like WI delivered a 2020 crop of 4,700,000 bbls, significantly down from expectations.

The Wisconsin crop is down considerably from the record 6,000,000 bbls in 2016 and inventories have been reduced due to a marketing order on the 2017 and 2018 crops.

I’m hearing that in the rest of the US, the crops are not stellar, nor is the crop in Canada. So we will see a worldwide crop similar to last years…which was a short crop.

The only pesky problem is the concentrate inventory which should be taken care of by the wonderful Tik Tok video of that guy (and everyone else) chugging CranRasperry.! Love. It.

Cranberry crop forcasts

24 Sep

So this is the time of year when all growers are on edge. Waiting. In Wisconsin we see a big crop. How big? We will know in a couple of weeks, but I’ve heard of a guy who harvested white that brought in almost 400 barrels an acre. White. Early harvest. Almost 400? Wisconsin is going to be big this year, and 5mm barrels is possible.

Just one question. Why didn’t we vote for a set aside? I can’t remember. Oh yeah, some of us wanted to see how big the crop is and maybe next year we will do something. Jeez.

Cranberry Marketing Committee, Orlando, FL

22 Feb

Well, it is time to head to the CMC meeting in Orlando. Usually everyone arrives on Sunday and the actual meeting is on Monday and Tuesday of this coming week, February 25, 26. I have to say that this is a wonderful time to leave WI, with snow falling. A year ago we were almost growing cranberries by this time! Yikes. Oh, and everyone was expecting the independents to make $35-40/barrel. Seriously.

So, what to expect from the CMC? Let’s start by reminding everyone that I am not a member or even an alternate. I go to these meetings to learn and try, try, TRY to figure out what is happening in the industry. The CMC has two main functions as I can tell. First of all, they take our $.28/barrel assessment and use it to generically advertise cranberries overseas and secondly, they can vote for a set aside to manage the size of the crop when we are over supplied. They also are the vehicle for numbers and reporting…can’t forget that part!

I think they really have a handle on the promotion part. Our international sales have steadily increased over the past 10 years…and I’m sure our efforts there have helped.

When it comes to volume regulation, EVERYONE I’ve talked to agrees that we have way too many berries in the freezer. Both Ocean Spray and the independents have too much fruit. Quebec and British Columbia had great crops and the projections are that additional new beds will be harvested this fall. What to do? The good news is….everyone is oversupplied. This means that maybe, maybe we can figure out how to deal with the situation. The US and BC have a marketing order, Quebec and Eastern Canada does not. We must figure out how to get Quebec into being part of the solution on this. All the US handlers are dropping their prices. Juice companies are searching around for low priced concentrate. The SDC prices are slipping. All around is bad news for growers…but yet…is it?

Say your sales history is 30,000 barrels and the set aside is 15%, so you can deliver 25,500 barrels. Without a set aside, the prices are going to be low, $15? What if, with a set aside we could get $25?
30,000 barrels x $15 = $450,000
25,500 barrels x $25= $637,500

Now, clearly I don’t know the prices, etc, etc…so don’t get all over me. I’m not the economist. I know that as an industry, we know how many barrels we sold last year, we know how many we took in and we can project how many barrels we can sell this year. It is math people! If we don’t continue to over supply the market, the prices will come up. Pure and simple.

Let’s come together in Orlando. We will have visitors from Canada and all the handler groups represented. Lets keep our egos in check and have a meaningful discussion. We can start with what we agree on: we delivered a lot of berries in 2012. If we can agree that by taking some fruit off the table in 2013 our prices will go up…then the only thing left to discuss is how and how much. Are you with me?

Cranberry wars update

26 Nov

Some of the lawyers representing the Independent growers suing Ocean Spray have a website up that you can see here:!

Global warming targets Thanksgiving | Daily Record |

21 Nov

Thanksgiving Staple Impacted by Climate Change – Front Page Journal –

21 Nov

Base price update!

16 Nov

Just a kind reminder that all base prices are NOT created equal.  Every handler has a different method of incentivizing (is that a word?) to deliver the type of fruit that they want.  So remember, when I post a base price, it is just that, a base price.  Most handlers have incentives on top of that for size, color, brix, etc, etc.  Base is base.  A starting point. What really matters is the final price, and if you are happy with it as a grower.  Another factor to be considered along with price is the payment schedule and actually the strength of the handler.  Price is great, but when do they pay and can they actually make the payment?  We’ve had handlers in our recent past that promised BIG payments and never delievered.

As for us as growers, our job is to deliver quality fruit, of the variety and color that is in demand.  We are kidding ourselves to think that we can deliver something less than our best.

Thanks to the handler that pointed out a few of the above facts.  You know, we really do need our handlers.  🙂


Lawsuit update and other pricing news

16 Nov

So yesterday Ocean Spray filed with the court their reasons that they should know who exactly are the John Does 1-7 who are suing them. Lots of legal cases. yada. yada. Don’t know when the court will rule but when I find out I will post it. And once I figure out if I can post the actual filings, I will do that, but don’t know if the server thing I subscribed to will let me. I’m thinking not. Any way, it looks like there are lots of reasons to reveal the names of the plaintiffs. We will see if the Judge agrees.

On the pricing front, Decas Cranberry announced in a letter to their growers at base price of $23.50 for the 2012 crop, a decrease from $25. Mariani also announced their price at $26.50. And I have been told that Cott (Cliffstar) and Lassonde (Pappas) are holding at $30. Wow. I always thought that the SDC makers could pay more since they get to make SDCs and then sell the resulting juice as opposed to the juice makers who just get to make juice. I’m hoping to hear some Canadian pricing with Atoka and Fruit D’or. Anyone have any info out there? Right now I’m thinking that the Cliffstar and Pappas growers are glad they didn’t jump ship this past year. Time will tell, it always does.

Lots of things going on in our cranberry world

2 Nov

I’d say that harvest is mostly finished and handlers are counting up their berries.  Looks like the crop was larger than expected, mostly due to Quebec bringing in huge numbers.  Good for them, but probably bad for prices.  The OS auction was held on Weds, and concentrate prices dropped a bit.  I have heard that one big WI handler dropped his bacse price to $26.50, due to dropping SDC prices.  Also not good.   The good news is that we brought in a quality crop, and there is always a place for quality fruit!

On the legal front, a class action lawsuit has been filed against Ocean Spray in Massachusettes court.  I didn’t know anything about it, so I am just reading and absorbing as you will.  Looks like 7 independent growers from all the main growing areas and one B pool grower have instigated this.  Don’t know who they are, or how they are doing it.  I did google search the attorneys and they look intesting.  Seems like the suit is from Oregon originally, but I’m not a lawyer and don’t really know how to read these things. I just tried to load the lawsuit file and it is protected somehow.  You can find it online here

United Cranberry is just rocking along.  We took in some fruit, have it cleaned and in bins and are looking for buyers!  thanks to our growers for a great first season!